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Jimmy Page -- Outrider (1988)

Jimmy Page will forever be known as the Creator of Led Zeppelin but his post-LZ projects of the 80s and 90s are ripe for a critical reassessment. There's a healthy quantity of music there: the Death Wish II soundtrack, an collaboration with Roy Harper, two albums from The Firm, the one Coverdale-Page recording, two Page and Plant albums, a live effort with The Black Crowes and of course his one true solo album -- 1988's Outrider.

It was released on label powerhouse Geffen Records with a major promotional push during the height of "hair metal." Pay no mind to the Motley Crues and Bon Jovis, the Guitar God was back and would reclaim his throne. The end result would be a very personal art project that left the public feeling a little cold. The three commercially-oriented singles would be the weakest tracks and stiff at radio.

David Fricke of Rolling Stone described it as "a whole lotta muddle, a bewildering amalgam of trademark Pagey rifferama, utter lyric banality, …
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Allman Brothers Band history: 1971 -- The final months of Duane Allman

One of the most tragic parts of the Duane Allman story is that he only got to enjoy a brief period of the Allman Brothers Band's massive success. The first two albums, 1969's self-titled debut and 1970's Idlewild South barely sold. They were on the road in a Winnebago non-stop (260 gigs between 1970 and 1971) but were still being kept afloat financially by Phil Walden and Capricorn Records. Band members made around $150/week. Not too bad for 1970 but hardly rock star riches.

Other than Walden, the band's other great benefactor was Bill Graham. They would end 1969 with several dates at the Fillmore East opening for Blood, Sweat And Tears, head out to San Francisco in January to open for BB King at Fillmore West and then be back in New York in February 1970 to open for the Grateful Dead. September and December would see more Fillmore East shows.

In March 1971, the monumental At Fillmore East album was recorded over three nights. A lesser known fact is that a horn section w…

Allman Brothers Band history: 1998 -- The Year Of Jack Pearson

After sitting out most of the 80s, the Allman Brothers Band reunited for the third time in 1989. They were a little tentative at first. There was no new album right away. New keyboard player Johnny Neel was an awkward fit for the band. The initial shows were essentially nostalgia nights. 

But by the summer of 1991, undeniable progress had been made. They now had two albums of new material, 1990's Seven Turns and 1991's Shades Of Two Worlds. Neel was out and in his place was a percussion player named Marc Quinones. The band was finally back in the two guitars/one keyboard configuration they started with in 1969. Newcomers Warren Haynes and Allen Woody gave the band of boost of energy -- they would not be the faceless for-hire musicians that had filled out the 79-82 lineup. 

The Allmans had escaped the classic rock nostalgia circuit and were getting their due as progenitors of the new "jamband" scene. They appeared on the H.O.R.D.E tour in both 1993 and 1994 and had the …

Allman Brothers Band history: 1980 -- from gee-tar to key-tar

Can you imagine seeing this at an Allman Brothers show? Welcome to 1980.

The ABB reunion in 1979 had gotten off to a decent start with a new ABB 3.0 lineup and a respectable comeback effort entitled Enlightened Rogues. This would also be their final album for Capricorn Records. Strongly believing that the label had not been paying them proper royalties for years, Dickey took Capricorn to court -- and won. The judgement resulted in the label declaring bankruptcy. The band would never see the money they were awarded and more importantly, they lost the support of people that had always given them complete creative control.

They signed with Clive Davis and Arista Records, also the home of the Grateful Dead. Davis had managed to exert some control over the notoriously-difficult Dead by insisting they use outside producers. Now he would do the same to the Allmans. 

Music was different now. Blues was considered old people music. Southern Rock was now passe as well and had never really recovered…

Allman Brothers Band history: 1990 -- two guitars, two keyboards

The 80s were the Allman Brothers Band's "lost decade." Barely limping into the 80s, the band called it quits in early 1982 amid an increasingly vague musical direction and a declining interest in the southern rock and blues they were known for. By the middle of the decade, their fortunes began to improve somewhat as classic rock radio renewed interest in their music and Gregg Allman stumbled upon a major hit with the song "I'm No Angel." Dickey's 1988 solo album Pattern Disruptive was not as well-received but the success of a Betts/Allman tour featuring their respective solo bands was a clear indicator that America was ready for the Allmans to take flight once more.

The Toler Brothers, who had been a part of ABB 3.0 and were also in Gregg Allman's solo band, were not asked to come back. Chuck Leavell had signed on with the Rolling Stones. Coming on board were three new members. Through auditions they found Allen Woody, an imposing figure with a massi…

Allman Brothers Band history: 1986 -- the reunion no one remembers

In terms of Allmans lineups, the common assumption is that ABB 3.0 broke up in early 1982 and were inactive until reuniting in 1989.

But there is the little-known 3.5 lineup which played two shows in July and October of 1986. Not a lot has been written about this period, we don't know if it was a genuine attempt to get the band back together or just some old friends having fun. Given that Gregg's I'm No Angel solo album would come out in early '87 I'm assuming it was just the latter.

The hour-long 1986/07/12 set was part of Charlie Daniels' annual "Volunteer Jam" concert. The lineup was a mish-mash of band members and associates past and present. Dan Toler from ABB 3.0 was kept on and Chuck Leavell from ABB 2.0 returned on grand piano. Most importantly, Jaimoe was back on drums after having being unceremoniously dumped from the band in late 1980. They used two bass players from Gregg and Dickey's solo bands.

It's pretty much a greatest hits set b…

Allman Brothers Band history: 1972 -- the five-man band

While everyone is familiar with Duane Allman's tragic death on October 29, 1971, few are aware that the Allman Brothers were back on the road three weeks later as a five-piece band. In December 1971 they entered the studio to record Ain't Wastin' Time No More, Les Brers In A Minor and Melissa -- the first side of the subsequent Eat A Peach album. Don't stop the train indeed.

Obviously the twin guitar lines were not present but in their place was the full guitar force of Dickey Betts who took over the slide playing and generally delivered at an extremely high level of performance. In my opinion, he was one of the top Rock guitarists of this era (but didn't get the recognition he should have).

Touring in support of Eat A Peach wrapped up in August 1972. They re-entered the studio in October augmented by Chuck Leavell on piano to start what would become Brothers And Sisters. The first two songs on the album were the first two recorded: "Wasted Words" and "…